CESSA - Clarifications for Law Enforcement and Emergency Responders (12/21/2022)

December 21, 2022


Re: The Community Emergency Services and Support Act (CESSA) (50 ILCS 754/)

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is aware that, under CESSA, some confusion may exist among law enforcement around response to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis. It is important to note that, as the State agency responsible for leading the coordination and implementation of CESSA, it is IDHS's reading and position that nothing has changed with regard to protocols or procedures for responding to these individuals.

We would also like to share that the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker have extended the deadline to complete implementation of CESSA to July 1, 2023. Also, even once implementation is complete and protocols and procedures are established, please note the following regarding CESSA:

  • Law enforcement may be dispatched to respond to a person requiring mental or behavioral health care whenever the individual is "involved in a suspected violation of the criminal law." Section 30 (a).
  • Law enforcement may be dispatched to respond to a person requiring mental or behavioral health care whenever the individual "presents a threat of physical injury to self or others" as defined in Section 30(a).
  • CESSA recognizes roles for law enforcement and non-police responders. It requires law enforcement and non-police responders to coordinate their activities to bring the most appropriate response to each call to 911. Sections 20, 25(k), 25(1), and 50.
  • Since non-police responders are not authorized to transport individuals to mental health care who are objecting to such care or to initiate involuntary commitment under the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (405 ILCS 5/), non-police responders should request that law enforcement transport an individual needing involuntary treatment to an appropriate mental health provider as provided in Section 405 ILCS 5/3-606 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code. Law enforcement may only involuntarily transport persons under Section 3-606 if they have "reasonable grounds to believe that the person is subject to involuntary admission on an inpatient basis and is in need of immediate hospitalization." Non-police responders should provide information to law enforcement which would support such a belief whenever they are requesting that law enforcement transport someone involuntarily to a mental health provider.

Should you have any questions concerning this communication, please direct correspondence to DHS.DMH.CESSA@illinois.gov